Winsday at Laurel; MD-based runner on Derby Trail?

February 15, 2012 | Gary Quill

Last year, Maryland based trainer Chris Grove found himself with a pretty nice 3 year old named Norman Absbjornson, who was runner-up in Gotham and was 4th in the Wood Memorial, both at Aqueduct. Those two showings earned him a start in the Preakness Stakes. Though “Norman” didn’t fare well on the Pimlico oval on the third Saturday in May, experiencing the Triple Crown process was priceless for Grove.

This past Saturday at Aqueduct, Grove sent out 3 year old Pretension, a NY-bred son of Bluegrass Cat owned by the Kidwells Petite Stable, in the $75k Sweet Envoy Stakes for NY-breds. A field of 8, including Richard Dutrow, Jr. trained Swag Daddy (3-5 Post Time favorite) who had previously beaten Pretension traveled 1 mile 70 yards on the inner dirt course. This time Pretension turned the tables on Swag Daddy, scoring a 1¼ length victory as the 7-2 second choice.

Considering Pretension has been nominated to the Triple Crown series, Grove indicated the next step is into graded stakes, as the Kentucky Derby dream appears to be alive and well. Pretension has never been worst than second in five (5) lifetime starts, getting to the Winners Circle twice. The G3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct is on March 3rd but may be too quick to ask Pretension to come back to give his best effort against open company which is to include 2 year old champion Hansen. The only other logical graded stakes option I see would require a long road trip to Tampa for the G3 Tampa Bay Derby (March 10th). Then if all goes well, Pretension might head back to “The Big A” for the G1 Wood Memorial on April 4th, with sights on the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5th.

Here are my opinions for a Laurel Park’s Winter Meet “Winsday” card, Feb. 15th. 1st race Post Time is 12:35pm EST.

1st race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for 4 yr olds – 6 furlongs
#4 – Soup d’Coupe (2-1)
#6 – Crow Bar (20-1)
#5 – Wahoo (6-1)

2nd race – $16,000 Claiming for 3 yr old fillies – 6 furlongs
#2 – Wildcat Appeal (5-2)
#6 – Gina’s Prospect (6-1)
#1A – Riley’s Rampage (7-5)

3rd race – $7,500 Claiming for 4 year olds NW2L – 5½ furlongs
#5 – Awaken Spirit (4-1) *** BEST BET ***
#1 – Leap Of Will (5-1)
#2 – Destined To Dance (10-1)

4th race – $16,000 Claiming – 6 furlongs
#4 – Phil’s Posse (5-2)
#1A – Freshy Francesco (3-1)
#6 – Giant Trust (4-1) *

5th race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for fillies and mares 4 yr olds & up – 1 mile
#3 – Raven Point (1-1) *
#4 – Saratoga Notes (6-1)
#8 – Everlastingaffair (6-1)

6th race – $33,000 Maiden Special Weight for fillies & mares 4 y.o. & up – 5½ f.
#5 – Midnight Ramble (3-1)
#3 – Two Harbors (5-2)
#6 – Distorted Disciple (5-1)

7th race – $5,000 Claiming for fillies & mares 4 y.o. & up – about 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Angels Concerto (4-1) *
#2 – My Nan Nell (7-2)
#1 – My Name Is Ralphie (8-1)

8th race – $35,000 Allowance n1x fillies & mares 4 y.o. & up – about 1 1/16 m.
#4 – Ferry Music (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#6 – Listen Dear (5-2)
#2 – Molly Molly Molly (5-1)

9th race – $10,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 year old fillies– about 1 1/16 miles
#4 – Moonshine Promise (8-1)
#3 – Break The Record (9-2) *
#6 – Carmichael’s Prize (2-1)

* – Trained by Dale Capuano who stands at 2,998 career wins.

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  1. Ruben Says:

    Using all that slot money, MJC really really needs to get either the Laurel Futurity, the Fredrico Tesio or any other of the other 3 yo stakes races during the Laurel winter meet to graded status. It sure would be nice for Maryland trainers to have a Maryland race they can target to earn their way to Derby starting gate.

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